Meri Waali Trip!

My fiance calls me crazy for this. My parents get really worried when I resort to such ways. My friends think that what I am doing can turn out to be a total disaster in case the God decides to undo the blessings and luck that He supposedly is showering upon me. In short, they all think that this is very uncalled for and I should stop doing this on an immediate basis.

Well, I am talking about the fascination that I have with traveling around the country in my car, be it alone or with a couple of friends. This time around, it happened to be a very dear friend who decided to give me company.

Like all the other trips that I have undertaken so far, this one too didn’t have a plan. When I left my place to pick up this friend of mine from his, Kanpur was the city that seemed to have caught my attention, courtesy the wonderful campus of the college in which I happened to have spent the precious few years of my life.national park

By the time I reached his house, the plans had taken a 180 degree turn and the pleasure associated with spending some time in the vicinity of lush green woods seemed to have taken me in its grip. So, we decided that we should go to Dudhwa National Park in the Lakhimpur Kheri district, which is also known as the sugar bowl of UP, and is around 240 kms from Lucknow, the city where I happen to be living at the moment.

And there we were driving on the Sitapur road, which by the way has developed into an excelllent highway and when I say excellent it means, one can average around 80-100 km/h on the same for a stretch of around 80 kms or so.

As we were about to reach a destination where we supposed to take a right turn for the national park, an idea of going to the hills struck me. I looked at my friend and gave him a smile. The excitement could very much be seen in my eyes. Having known me for the past couple of years, he knew what I was upto. Fearing the odacity of the plan that I could have had in my mind, he said, “Don’t even think about it. We are going to Dudhwa.”

Though I wanted to bring my idea into reality, yet I had no issues when it came to spending some time in the woods. After reaching the national park, we opted for a Safari, which in many ways turned out to be a pleasant experience with us driving amidst the woods in a Gypsee with trees towering upon us from both the sides. We were lucky enough to see a couple of wild animals, considering that we had reached the place in the evening.

After an hour and a half long Safari, we decided to munch upon some delicacies in a canteen which is located within the premises of the park. I could see the hills right in front of my eyes, while I sat there sipping on a cup of tea.

I looked at my friend again, who by the time had understood that I had made up my mind on something which is not going to go away so easily from my mind. “Ok! Where do you want to go now?”, he asked.

I was wondering whether we should go to Nainitaal. It is not very far. I guess it is around 350 kms or so. Right now, it is 7:30 p.m. I am sure we will reach there by 12:30 a.m. We will take the Pilibhit route which is quite decent when it comes to the condition of the roads. And we will bid good morning to each other in the beautiful Naini lake. What say? 😉 “ I finally revealed the deliberation which had been going on in my mind for the past couple of hours.mountain

Do I have an option?”, He smiled back.

And there we were, once again all set to hit the road with the back packs that we were carrying along. It took us around 6 hours to reach a place called Katgodaam (from where Nainitaal is just 35 kms away) much more than what he had expected, courtesy a very bad patch of road that we encountered in the path that we had decided to tread.

By then, we were completely exhausted. Good sense prevailed and we decided to find a place where we could sleep for at least couple of hours. As if, God had finally decided to ditch us. We were unable to find a room in the hotels, as all were full, as it was the weekend and not many people in the World travel in the same unplanned manner as we do.

Having no other option, we decided to sleep in the car itself. It was only after 2 hours that we realized that we were sleeping in our car which was parked on the road itself. It was already 4 a.m. We knew that if we wanted to see the first rays of the sun in Nainitaal, we better leave then.

The beautiful valley along with the curves associated with the path that leads to any of the hill stations seemed to have rejuvenated both of us and made our ascent to the top one of the most pleasurable and serene of experiences that I have ever had.

It took us another hour and a half to reach the hill station and there we were sipping again on a cup of tea along with a plate of band makkhan at the Naini lake looking at the sun showering all its energy and blessings on us.

After having our breakfast at the lake, we drove towards a hill top totally engulfed by the clouds which seemed to have traveled from the heavens just to meet the stretch of mountains.

It was getting colder and we had of course not carried along any woolens, for in the first place we had no plans of going to a hill station. Good sense prevailed once again and more than having a good time, an idea of consuming some alcohol came up which was nothing but a means of survival at that point of time.

We sat in a dhaba munching upon some snacks prepared by the gentleman who happened to own the place, along with our drinks, which truly acted as our saviour. After having had the couple of drinks and after feeling all charged up and warm having consumed the same, we decided to take a stroll down the mountains and do some casual trekking.

There were, by the way two reasons, why we wanted to do so. First, we wanted to experience the beauty on foot and second, we definitely wished to get back to our natural senses as we hadn’t realized that we had drank enough for both of us to have that feel good factor associated with the heavenly drink.

We took what can be called a self semi-Naini tour, borrowing the terminology used by most tourist operators in the area, the only difference was that we didn’t have a guide to give us company as it would have killed the self-exploration tendency that we all have.

It took us another 3 hours to regain our senses. By then it was already 3 in the afternoon and it was time to head back as we wanted to reach home before it got too late at night. We halted at a couple of dhabas en route. It was only around 10p.m. that we were able to enter our city.

Having dropped my friend to his place, as I drove back home, my mind seemed to have gone blank. With a couple of hours of sleep to my credit, my mind and body seemed to have stopped listening to me.car tour

I straight away threw myself on my bed on enterting my house. There was this big smile on my face as one would normally see on the face of a satisfied and content person. As I closed my eyes, I wondered, when it would be next when I will get to experience what I had just done. 🙂

Source for Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fundy_National_Park_of_Canada_9.jpg, http://brainz.org/16-most-incredible-north-american-national-parks/, http://blog.hippocampus.in/2010/09/29/upcoming-field-trips-in-october-hippocampus-koramangala/

Travel Woes!

Traveling in India can be a big problem at times, especially during the winter season, when the cloudy and foggy conditions tend to hamper the locomotion of the majority of our public transport.

For the aam aadmi, it becomes really hard to plan a trip or an outing in the near future, for the fear that trains might get late or flights might get cancelled. It becomes even more tough in case someone is planning a family trip using the services of the companies like make my trip etc. because one needs to pay the entire amount for the trip in order to confirm the same beforehand and in case the flights or the train gets delayed, the entire amount goes in the vain coupled with the disappointment that ensues amongst the family members.travel portal software

What should one do in such a situation? And before that why is it that India has not been able to modernize her public transport to deal with situations that arise every year with winters setting in? Is it due to lack of political will or are we out of options on this front? Is it because of the lack of funds which government cites as a reason more often than not for any and every problem they might be facing or is it because no one is really bothered about improving things on this front?

Mind you, the delay in the transportation results in a huge loss for not only the people of the country but also has a huge impact on the exchequer of the government. Then why the issue has not been taken on an urgency basis?

As if the problems with train reservation and the nexus of the agents was not enough, the above factor has also come to haunt both the people and the government. Coupled with the same are the issues related to the lack of competition in the aviation sector which is leading to airlines hiking air fares in the wake of lack of options for the people to choose from.

A good example of this is the US aviation market where there are numerous players and flying has become extremely cheap, even cheaper than train travel at times, giving the public a large leverage when it comes to opting for the airlines.

Of course, the same cannot be copied as a whole from US on an immediate basis, but still things can be made to improve by ensuring reduction in operation costs of the airlines as well as reduction in the cost of aviation turbine fuel. On the infrastructure front, a lot can be done to enhance the quality of our airports.

Allowing foregin players would also help in increasing competition which will in turn will lead to better services being offered to the consumers. What is required is the initiative on part of our government along with the DGCA which is responsible for regulating the same in our country.

The recent decision by the DGCA not to renew the license of Kingfisher airlines might lead to other airlines again hiking prices in the near future. DGCA should ensure that there be a limit on the hikes, for it is unimaginable as a traveler to be paying nearly double for the same ticket of the same class in case one tends not to book it, say 1 or 2 months prior to the travel date.plane

This is, in a way, killing the ad-hoc notion of travel, a concept that many people like myself are really fond of. Why the hell everything has to be planned! And that too, in case of travel, which is nothing but a personification of the natural desire of a human being to explore. It cannot and it should not be tamed by the whims and fancies of a couple of players in the aviation sector.

As far as I am concerned, because of some of the reasons cited above and because of me being a big proponent of ad-hoc travel, I prefer road over any other form of public transport. Sometimes, though, I too feel constrained by the factors which are not under my control.

With a hope that a day would come when the people will be able to experience the fun and pleasure attached to the ad-hoc nature of travel, and hoping that our government would leave no stone unturned in order to ensure the same, I would like to raise a toast to the curiosity which makes us all human beings. 🙂

Source for Image: http://www.zecatravel.com/, http://max3logic-it-solutions.blogspot.in/

The Trip!

The last time I was here telling you guys about my new trip, I was just about leaving that very moment and now having returned back to the cosy comforts of my habitation, here I am all set to share what I have just experienced.

When I left my place two days back, I had no clue where I would be heading to in the two days of my life which were about to follow that very day. Even though there wasn’t any destination in mind, yet, there was a sense of joy and excitement which was very much visible on my face.

With no one to talk to, I had an ipod and of course my own vehicle to accompany me on this trip. There were no time constraints and no deadlines that I was supposed to meet.

With lot of time in hand, the roads (if I can call them so because of the condition that they were in) didn’t seem to bother my state of consciousness and I drove in a carefree manner, at times taking a halt and having a cup of tea on the immensely famous dhabas in our country that happened to fall on the route.

A 74 km jounrey to Rudrapur which should normally take an hour, took me nearly 4 hours. A couple of factors were responsible for the same. First, I was in a really good mood and wasn’t in any kind of hurry what so ever and second, the condition of the roads didn’t allow me to drive at a speed higher than 40km/h or so.

On reaching Rudrapur, I was welcomed by a person whom I have admired throught the time period that I have known him. A very polite and sweet person you will ever come across and in true senses a gem of a person.

The time that I spent thereafter was in the company of this wonderful person. What’s amazing about this person is that the more I talk about him, the fonder I become

What followed was a treat that I would remember throughout my life. We literally went places ranging from Haldwani to Nainital. The mountains seemed to be welcoming us with open arms and the weather was ever so enticing and inviting.

When you are in such good company, you can’t help but discuss life. And that was exactly what we ended up doing, which led to one insight after another.

True to our nature, courtesy the same place we both used to inhabit once upon a time in our lives (our college), it was in true senses of the word a g-drive bulla session.

For those who are unable to discover the implicit meaning behind the explicit expression of a true emotion, it is very much my responsibility to tell you guys that g-drive bulla session is the most arbit of discussions you can ever have about things ranging from anything to everything.

What follows after that discussion is not any logical/rational inferences or judgements but a void which makes you want to discuss more and more about the same or different topics (for that matter what topic we are talking on doesn’t seem to matter).

After having had a wonderful night out on the streets of Nainitaal we decided to head back to the secure environment of our homes.

With lots to ponder over and lots to cherish, this trip was in more ways than one a very different trip. Without going into the details of why it was different, it was truly, what I would like to call a value-addition trip.

There was so much to learn, there was so much to experience, yet the trip, in no way, demeaned the very essence and significance of what a trip means to the many who love to travel.

All in all, it will always remain somehwere deep down in my memory lane as a trip which I had always craved for.

Source for Image: http//destination360.com